With no Shop ‘n Save this impoverished Cahokia neighborhood will walk miles for food
A 10-minute walk for groceries could turn into a 40-minute hike for residents of St. Joseph Gardens in Cahokia.
If Shop ‘n Save doesn’t find a buyer for its store on Camp Jackson Road, it will close in November. Residents without cars or the money for public transportation would face a longer walk to Aldi, Wal-Mart or Schnucks to purchase food and other household staples.
“This is the first place that we come to,” Kayla Jones said Wednesday after walking to the store in 90-degree heat to Shop ‘n Save. “If you want to go somewhere quick, Shop ‘n Save is right here right here. Right over the bridge.”
Jones pushed a stroller over the bridge Wednesday. Inside, a baby sucked on a bottle while her mother, Lekettia Gilmore, walked along the busy thoroughfare.
Gilmore visits the store almost every day. She picks up items she says are more reasonably priced compared to other stores.
Schnucks and Walmart have stores on Camp Jackson Road but those stores are more expensive, residents say.
It’s a dangerous walk to the other side of town. Camp Jackson Road doesn’t have a continuous sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to use the highway shoulder or grassy areas. The speed limit along that stretch is 45 mph.
Schnucks announced Monday it would take over five Shop ‘n Save stores in the metro-east. Three stores in the metro-east didn’t make the cut. Stores in Granite City and west Belleville will close without a buyer. Both of those stores have pharmacy customers that will be transferred to a nearby Schnucks.
The Cahokia store doesn’t have a pharmacy, but is a place residents of St. Joseph Gardens and other nearby neighborhoods go to for flu shots. Last year, the store set up a station for flu shots near the bagging area. The store will offer the same service this year.
Shop ‘n Save also anchors a strip mall in a city where vacancies are not hard to come by. Kmart and other retailers left years ago leaving residents with fewer options.
“We need more than Schnucks,” Shop ‘n Save customer Bill Martin said. “People need a place to shop.”
Martin has owned property in the area the last 30 years and stops by the store to pick up certain items.
It’s convenient and offers items local residents can’t get at the Family Dollar next door to Shop ‘n Save.
The limited selection worries residents like Martina Allen and Jermelia Randolph. Both depend on the store.
“It’s inconvenient if they take that store,” Randolph said. “People don’t have a ride all of the time. We have to walk to the store.”
The end date for employees and store closings could be Nov. 19, said to Collin Reischman, spokesman for United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655.